I would like first of all to start with a Disclaimer: The words spirit, soul and spirituality have many differing meanings. In fact, combined there are close to two million definitions. I am not a Theologian or an expert of any kind. What I am is an Intuitive person who regards the development of my growth as highly important. Spiritual development has become a life-long developing process which started on a conscious level when I was nineteen. It has been a process that has meant at times learning new things to choosing at other times to un-learn some of what I felt I had learned. As Albert Einstein said, “The more I know, the more I realize I don’t know.” Likewise Socrates said, “I know only that I do not know.” In this series there will be some quotes from the bible as well as quotes from other enlightened thinkers who are not necessarily Christian. I make no apologies for either of this. I stated on my about page, I believe we all have something to learn from each other. All who journey on a path of spiritual awakening have something to share. Spirituality is a HUGE subject that I will endeavour to explain in a way that makes sense to me and I hope to all who read this. My aim is to write an interesting (I hope) four part series for those who are interested in living a spiritual life. If you are hoping to read a philosophy or psychology based essay written by a pseudo-intellectual than you have come to the wrong place. I don’t have all the answers but this is my education in progress that I humbly share with you.
Looking back over the years to when I was a child, I realize that there was something brewing inside of me that I couldn’t quite put a finger on. Something that called me though I could never explain it in words. There was a yearning inside me that no one else seemed to experience which caused me to feel like an alien in a foreign land and I was searching for my way home again. I was an avid reader with an active imagination so I invented worlds in my mind. I knew they weren’t real. I wasn’t delusional but when I found life to be more than I could bear and I wasn’t in a place where I could escape with a good book, I used one of the places in my mind to escape to. It was a conscious but difficult effort for however hard I tried, the reality of this painful life I lead would always break through in the end and talons of despair would often claw at my heart.
There were also good moments in my life that would spark this yearning inside me. For instance, when I looked up at the sky at night and saw a sky full of stars. Something would swell inside of me and it felt as if the world was showing me this unattainable joy and it made me want to cry. Later when I was a teenager it made me want to write poetry.
What is it that causes such strange swellings in our spirit? At first it feels there is a tight skin around our heart and as our heart swells, the skin stretches but fights back by tightening some more. Yet still our spirit aches and longs for something we don’t understand. I was a child with many weaknesses and when these yearnings occurred I felt that whatever they were they were as unreal as the fictional books I loved to read. The world I thought was a hard, cold place and that was a fact. Yet still these yearnings would occur.
What I now believe is that it is a god-placed yearning just like all the other instincts we are given to survive and the many laws that God has placed to govern our world (such as the law of gravity). We are a triune race, this human race. We are made to use our minds (or souls), bodies and spirits and yet so many of us deny the spiritual side of us. The consequences are many and detrimental to the quality of life that we could be living.
Many reading this will understand what I am saying because we share similar experiences. For some others it is a foreign concept and for still others, they liken it to something else they understand like ambition in life. However, you can have ambition without spirituality. You can even be somewhat successful if you put your mind to it but you will not be wholly successful if you leave your spirit behind. One of the reasons is that there is a danger that you are trying to walk on a path that is someone else’s and was never meant for you.
What spirit is:
Let’s take a step back however because in order to understand what spirituality is, we need to understand what spirit is and who’s spirit we are talking about.
As I stated before we are a triune race. What that means is that we humans exist as three-in-one. We are made up of a mind, body and spirit. I Thessalonians 5.23 reads: “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So from that we gather that the bible shows that there is a distinct difference between our soul and spirit as well as our physical body. The soul (often interchanged as the mind) is the essence of our humanity, our psyche or our personality and our emotions and will. It is our thoughts and the chatter in our minds which often distracts us. There is so much more to be said about our minds but as we are focusing on the spirit, this will suffice. Our spirit on the other hand is our true self. It is incorporeal. It is pure consciousness. It is the part of us that does no wrong. It is the part of us that lives on after death. Deepak Chopra calls our spirit our own reference point (more on that later). Caroline Myss said, ‘It is the part of us that is seeking meaning and purpose’. Edgar Cayce said our spirit ‘…is a portion of the divine.’ In Genesis 2:7 we read, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Soul and spirit were both given by God to human kind.
Note: There are difference of opinions between which is the soul and which is the spirit. It is up you if you prefer to think of your soul as the part of you that is eternal and the spirit as the part of you that is your psyche.
What is spirituality:
So what then is spirituality? As it comes from the root word ‘spirit’ then it relates to things that we perceive without using our 5 senses or our reasoning mind. Take a moment to think about that before continuing to part 2. What do we perceive without using our mind or five senses?